Mentalt bokslut på sin plats

Line upGår långsamt och är full av intryck den korta vägen tillbaka till mitt hotell. Jag har, på grund av mitt företag och mitt fantastiska team, fått vara med om något helt otroligt.

Dagarna har en tendens att gå in i varandra. Man får en hel del förfrågningar om den finns en möjlighet att komma och prata om vad vi gör, varför vi gör det och hur vi fick idén till att göra just det vi gör.

När det för en ganska så kort tid sedan kom ett mail från Vita Huset, med en inbjudan att i) träffa President Obama att ii) ta med delar av mitt team till #StateOfWomen Summit och iii) delta i en panel den 14 juni så trodde jag att den första delen var ett practical joke från mina kollegor i USA. Jag gjorde vad många andra hade gjort. Jag svarade inte på mailet av just den anledningen. Inte tills jag fick en påminnelse och en vädjan av min kollega i Washington att ta mig tiden att faktiskt svara Vita Huset på deras personliga inbjudan.

Igår kväll fick jag efter en helt fantastiks dag på Capital och på svenska ambassaden delar av min amerikanske HR-avdelning sola sig i sin välförtjänta glans. Bland skådespelare, aktivister och politiker som samtliga verkar för att införa vad vi i Sverige skulle tycka vara självklarheter inom områden som hälsa, HBTQ, föräldraledighet, lika lön mm mm. Som chef, så hade vistelsen kunnat sluta där och teamet och jag hade åkt hem fulla av energi och glädje efter många och långa samtal om viktiga ämnen.

Idag, har vi fått lyssna till helt otroliga män och kvinnor. Alla retoriska under med en passion och övertygelse om att göra en skillnad inom:

Economic Empowerment – equal pay and paid leave, as well as childcare and diversity

Health & Wellness – health coverage, preventative care, pregnancy and more

Educational Opportunity – education for girls and women, from early childhood to college

 

Leadership & Civic Engagement – furthering women’s roles in corporations, academia, the media and the public sector
Tina TchenHelt overkligt att höra Tina Tchen öppna dagen med att ge Spotify en shout out och sedan bara luta sig framåt och ta in, talare efter talare och inse med skräckblandad förtjusning and två andra saker också står på dagordningen. Nämligen, att själv delta i en panel och få en egen pratstund med presidenten.
Powerhouse panelPanelen gick bra. Imponerande och härliga kvinnor debatterade economic empowerment; equal pay and paid leave, as well as childcare and diversity. Och intresset för vår policy, vårt land och hur vi ser och gör åt saken röner stor uppmärksamhet. För att uttrycka det milt.
Gloria & KatarinaSamtalet och mötet med president Obama föregick av flera otroliga möten i back stage och i Green Room. Att få en pratstund med ikonen Gloria Steinem kanske amerikas mest kända feminist, journalist, och socialpolitisk aktivist. Känd som ledare och talesperson för den jämställda rörelsen sedan slutet av 1960-talet. Stort.
Var frestad att prata min urusla backhand med Billie Jean King, denna tennis legend, men valde istället att lyssna till hennes Leadership Initiative och World TeamTennis. Troligtvis ett klokt val.
Katarina & SophiaDe bästa samtal sker dock i de mest oväntade miljöer och inte alltför sällan med personer som stillsamt imponerar. När jag arbetade på Kanal 5 så gick en teve-serie som heter One Tree Hill. Sophia Bush spelade en av huvudrollerna Brooke Davis och i ‘kön’ till det enskilda samtalet med presidenten började vi prata om hennes arbete som skådespelare, regissör men mer så om hennes arbete som talesperson och aktivist för unga tjejers rätt till utbildning. Ett otroligt spännande, ödmjukt och roligt samtal. Som till min kollegas Toms stora förtjusning tillfälligt avbröts när Scandal stjärnan Kerry Washington kom av sin föreläsning på stora scen och fram för att hälsa på Sophia.
Mitt samtal med President Obama. Eventuellt aningen star struck fortfarande. Men, presidenten är längre, stiligare och roligare än vad jag hade föreställt mig samt har en mean right hook som landade mer än en gång  på min axel. Vad vi pratade om. Kanske är ett blogginlägg värt sitt egna utrymme? Men för nu, så ska jag nog bara smälta att jag ut från det rummet, in i en kram på en av de mest imponerande kvinnor jag haft möjlighet att träffa. Miss Valerie Jarrett senior advisor till President Obama och tillika dagens co-host tillsammans med Tina Tchen, Chief of Staff to the First Lady.
FLOTUS & O
Eftermiddagspasset? Vi fick möjlighet att lyssna till Oprahs intervju med @FLOTUS Michelle Obama. Otroligt frispråkigt, viktigt och roligt. På frågan om vad män kan göra svarade @FLOTUS snabbt – var bättre! På frågan om vad hennes prioriteringar varit under de två mandatperioderna – våra två barn. På frågan vad hon ser fram emot efter tiden som presidentfru – att bar få sitta i en trädgård som inte också är en nationalpark. På frågan om hon ibland bli påmind om att de bor och verkar i Vita Huset – när vi har öppnat upp huset för kategorier av människor och barn som annars aldrig ens kunnat drömma om ett besök, när vi haft stora artister på besök och när min man landar med helikoptern och går stegen upp över gräsmattan – som bara han kan gå – upp till Vita Huset. Vid de tillfällena tänker jag Mmm, Mmm, Mmm. På frågan om Presidenten alltid haft the swag – yes, but it has gotten more swagalicious.
Nancy PilosiVad var bäst denna dag. Svårt att säga. Mest känslosamt var, men möjligtvis en aning för ‘amerikanskt för min del’ vad vice presidenten J Biden. Imponerande var mötet med och lyssna till Nancy Pelosi och Loretta Lynch.
PresidentPresident Barack Obamas tal var utan tvekan det som stod ut. Roligt, träffsäkert, retoriskt fulländat, i tid och på tid. Det blir synd att se dem checka ut, av fler anledningar än de uppenbara…
Vad var jag just med om. Tack vara Spotify och det arbete HR Teamet gör. …jag får nog fortsätta med mitt mentala bokslut i morgon när jag sovit på saken.

The United State of Women

On June 14th, the White House is convening the first-ever United State of Women Summit to rally together and celebrate what we’ve achieved, and actions and challenges…

#StateOfWomen

The Withe House is bringing amazing women together for an important reason. And the team and I get to head over to the Washington DC Convention Center and meet an insane line up of speakers and the next generation of trailblazing women during the #StateOfWomen Summit 

It is still very early in the morning. Yet another super warm day. And the small #LeadOnLeave team will have som alone time with Vice President Biden.

The Team

Laurie, Tiffany, Michael

The line outside the Convention Center is all around the block and it is only 07.20. Secret Service is doing a good job and the excited participants seem to be more than glad to wait to go through security and as happy as I am to be a part of this, I would lie if I didn´t admit that it is good to pass the line with my speakers badge.

work work work

Tom Manatos

I will check in later with a short write up. Now, I will go and pinch myself

//Katarina

The #LeadOnLeave Team

VIP Reception HR

Tom & The HR Squad

Just got back to the hotel after an exceptional evening hosted by VP Biden. The opportunity to spend an evening like this with your amazing HR team makes me unbelievable proud. Smiling faces all over the VIP Reception and this is just the evening before the United State of Women Summit hosted by The White House. Tomorrow we will be able to listen to when @FLOTUS will join @Oprah for an armchair discussion.

Regardless of our Swedish way of thinking, whether they were made possible by tradition,

Reception

Taylor Barnes, Chloe, Connie Britton, Halle, Kathleen Biden

culture or legislation, the steps that has been taken to ensure that women and men have equal opportunities and equal power to shape society, their lives and their families is pretty much why we are invited. And the evening couldn´t have been a nicer one. The weather is to good to be true, the view from the rooftop bar at the Hay-Adams overlooking the White House and the smiles on the face of my team was just the best experience ever.

Hay Adams

Katarina Berg, Michael Kim

Neither of us could have thought that our global parental leave policy would send us all down to Washington DC. I am in awe of this team. They did better than good. And best part of it is that seven months after launch we can see a lot of the positive effects that we where hoping for.

Just wishing the whole HR squad could have joined us on this event. They so would have deserved it.

//Katarina

 

Swedishness, a business idea?

Ikea is built on it. Volvo is refreshing it. Jan Carlzon is still doing it via his Moment of Truth. So, it isn´t that special I got to spend most of the day discussing Swedishness; i) Swedish leadership – autonomy, competence development, belonging & benevolence ii) the Swedish model in general and iii) parental and sick leave in specific.

Still. What an amazing day. Full stop.

Tyvm Tom for:

Tom ManatosInviting me to your old workplace and showing me around. Really appreciate it and loved to learn more about the Capitol from you and our DJ and cicero during our very special tour.

Had no idea that many people had a chance to step into ‘the office’ on a daily basis. Great to hear the behind the scenes stories of a lot of famous and infamous men and women.

Senators trainTaking the senators train aka the horisontel elevator to the Senate Office Building to meet w/ senator Gillibrand’s staff. The American system of pushing bills and our Swedish system is so different and very interesting to get a better understanding of what the more progressive states are trying to do. To get the opportunity to talk to Keith Castaldos and Alexandra Lowe-Server was very rewarding and hopefully we gave them something useful in return.

House of SwedenAfter a great lunch and some time to read up on the afternoon program we headed out to the House of Sweden. This Embassy of ours must be the best located embassy in the whole of Washington. Just by the Potomac river, this open glass house with water and birch tree is simply a piece of Sweden. Very attentive, the exhibition showing at the moment: Gender equality – We’ve come a long way – haven’t we? It is about Sweden’s achievements in gender equality. This exhibition aims to inspire and reflect as well as discuss the changes which have been made and to initiate the changes still needed to reach gender equality in your part of the world. The exhibition will be on display until December, 2016. Tyvm Monica Enqvist for showing us around the lovely House of Sweden.

Timing is all, right. So to get the chance to meet with the embassy staff just a week after the Nordic Summit at the White House was just one of those happy coincidences. We should all be proud of the shout outs President Obama did and of course we where extra thrilled that he mentioned Spotify along with Swedish icons like Abba, Volvo ; Björn Borg and Pippi Longstocking. To be able to talk about that with people attending this historic pow wow was a real treat. It was a great talk about our proud Swedish roots and important push for #LeadOn Leave initiative. Thanks ambassador Björn Lyrvall and staff for having us!

Amb B Lyrvall & staff

Göran Lithell, Monica Enqvist, Katarina Berg, Björn Lyrvall, Andreas von Uexküll. Missing on the picture Tomas Manatos and Tom Siebert.

//Katarina Berg, CHRO, Spotify

Just an ordinary week in DC

KATARINA’S DC SCHEDULE – JUNE 13 – JUNE 15 capitol

You know it’s real when you open your documents and it starts with KATARINA’S DC SCHEDULE – JUNE 13 – JUNE 15. There is both a sense of relief that somebody else has gone to the trouble of organizing your days, but also the anxiety of the fat pack that comes with the brief.

I think I’ve never been more excited over a work week and still, I love going to work. Being a West Wing buff just being able to spend time in Washington DC is pretty special. Considering who we are going to meet and where we are going to visit during the next couple of days is nothing but inspiring.

If not to overwhelmed, I will do short write ups of the three first days of this week. Tom Manatos tells me though, I wont be able to take pics and tell all.

//Katarina

 

Monday, June 13

9:15 am – Tom arrives at Katarina’s Hotel to go to Capitol

10:00 am – VIP Tour of the US Capitol

11:30 am – Meeting with Senator Gillibrand Staff, Keith Castaldo & Alexandra Lowe-Server to talk about Spotify global parental leave policy, the business case (why, what, roi), Swedish leave policies and expereince. Location: 478 Russell Senate Office Building

1:00 pm – Lunch Kellari Taverna with Tom Manatos, the most connected person in DC

3 pm – Meeting with Ambassador Bjorn Lyrvall & Tour of House of Sweden

Notes: The Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM), Goran Lithell, The Minister Counselor Andreas von Uexküll and Head of Public Diplomacy Monica Enqvist will also attend. Tom Siebert, former US Ambassador to Sweden arranged the meeting for us and will attend.

6:00 pm – VIP Reception with Vice President Biden. Location: The Hay-Adams, 800 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20006

 

Tuesday, June 14

All day – United State of Women Summit – Washington DC Convention Center

7.30 am – The Spotify HR Team to meet and take picture w/ VP Biden

8:30 am – Opening Session of Summit with speech from Vice President Biden

10:30 am – Transition to breakout sessions

10:50 am – Your (Katarinas keynote panel) breakout begins

10:50 am – 11:00 am – Deborah Gillis, President and CEO, Catalyst & Mark Weinberger, CEO, Ernst & Young frame discussion

11:00 am – 11:50 am – you and other panelists (more in separate briefing)

12:30 pm – Meet w/ President Obama

13.30 pm – Lunch with speech from President Obama 

2:30 pm – 4:00 pm Afternoon breakout sessions

4:10 pm – Afternoon Session Special w/ First Lady Michelle Obama & Oprah

5.10 pm – Other programming

8.10 pm – Chloe x Halle

 

Wednesday, June 15

8:30 am – Internet Association w/ Congressman David Cicilline (D-Rhode Island)

10:00 am – Arrive at White House w/ staffer Alexandra Veitch

11.00 am – East Wing Reception Room

11:30 am – White House East Wing 

12:30 pm – Lunch

 

General Schedule of United State of Women Summit with more specific participants/performers below the timed sections.

United State of Women Agenda
8:30 AM – 10:30 AM – VICE PRESIDENT Plenary 1: Health and Violence against Women

Plenary 1 will gather all 5,000 Summit guests to hear innovative solutions in women’s health and violence against women issues.

10: 50 AM – 11:50 AM – YOUR BREAKOUT Solution Seminar Set 1:

12 total Seminar will occur concurrently, each with 150-400 guests.  This will be an opportunity to discuss various topics across the six Summit pillars in depth, and to continue highlighting innovative ideas.

13:15 PM – 2:05 PM – PRESIDENT OBAMA Plenary 2: Economics, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation

Plenary 2 will gather all 5,000 Summit guests to hear innovative solutions in women’s entrepreneurship and economic opportunity.

2:50 PM – 3:50 PM Solution Seminar Set 2:

12 total Seminar will occur concurrently, each with 150-400 guests.  This will be an opportunity to discuss various topics across the six Summit pillars in depth, and to continue highlighting innovative ideas.

4:10 PM – 6:00 PM – FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA Plenary 3: Education, Civic Engagement, Leadership and Visibility

Plenary 3 will gather all 5,000 Summit guests to hear innovative solutions in around education and civic engagement. 

 

 

 

 

Work Family Balance

Since Work is a big part of Life I strongly dislike Work/LifePL Balance as a notion.

We have all been asked how we are managing work/life balance. Every time someone asks me that I cringe. For me the notion of work/life balance is strange since it differs to all of us in so many different ways and I also happen to think that work is a part of life and a very important part of it too. The fact that some call it work/life balance automatically implies that it is either or that will make you happy or bring balance to your life. It also implies that you don´t have anything to say or do about it yourself.

The concept implies that you have work on the evil side, and life on the other. I think we all know what implications not having a job does to a person or a families life. Having both, but relying on self leadership you don´t necessarily  have the two competing for your attention nor your well being.

Work Family Balance on the other hand might be something slightly different. Family & friends are important and from time to time – something has to give. And for the large part of the community debating this work is a huge part of who they are and they do have choices they can make. The equation just don´t add up, if you want it all or if you think someone else make up the rules and you just have to go along with it.

So, I am not talking about the employees that doesn´t have a choice in the part of the world that is not as fortunate as we who love debating work/life balance. I am obviously only talking about the crowd that can decide for themselves but still are puzzled by the puzzle and not getting the pieces to fit.

I believe that work is the reason why al lot of us get up in the morning. It’s what I love to do. And when I don´t, I find something else to do. Am I privileged in that way, yes I am, but so is most of the people getting the balance thing confused.

Still this is one of many reasons why we introduced our global parental leave policy @Spotify. Employers can and should remove blockers and enable Work Family Balance. This is simply the right thing to do and since science show that both individuals and companies benefit from this way of thinking we should all #LeadOnLeave.

Taking time off to spend important time to recover or special time with your family and friends is invaluable. As is this team, the HR Parental Leave Squad: Tiffany Serra, Michael Kim and Laurie Benson. Tyvm for making Work Family Balance possible @Spotify!

Parental Leave Squad

Katarina Berg, Michael Kim, Tiffany Serra, Laurie Benson

//Katarina Berg

The United State Of Women

GoingThe ripple effect of our Global Parental Leave Policy @Spotify is plain insane. We are just incredible proud and happy that we can help #LeadOnLeave just by driving the Swedishness back home.

Our experience of having both mothers and fathers on leave for more then 20 years with up to 480 paid days gives us a very good understanding on how to manage, what the  gains are and also even be able to                                                                            urge all employees to take their leave.FLOTUS

We are West bound and just thrilled to summon our HR Parental Leave Team in Washington DC. The team and I are so looking forward to get the chance to listen to one of the most crazy line up of speakers we ever seen.

#StateofWomen

//Katarina Berg, CHRO, Spotify